Playing Tetris with Museum Exhibits

Sinnemahoning State ParkIf you have ever packed a family of five’s belongings into a minivan before a two-week road trip, you will know what I’m talking about. After our fabricators spend months building an exhibit, they have to break it down into small chunks and pack it on a semi. But none of the chunks are the same size, they have strange centers of gravity, and they’re rather awkward. Sometimes we have twelve-foot long tree trunks weighing 500 pounds. Everything is swathed in foam and shrink-wrap with straps and blankets like we’re moving house. Another similarity to moving is that it all has to fit through a standard door at the final destination – maybe a double door if we’re lucky.

This photo is from the Visitor Center at Sinnemahoning State Park in Pennsylvania. Everything you see in it fit into one of three 26’ long box trucks. Continue Reading

Coming Out: The Story of a Design-Build Firm

Taylor Studios, Inc.In the early years, Taylor Studios, was often a subcontract fabricator of other firms in the industry. Most of the time, other fabricators came to us to get bids for scenic work. Occasionally, a design-only firm would bring us on as their builder. In both of these scenarios, we were relied on heavily to do the final construction drawings or to figure out how you could build some very unique components.

From the start of the business, we had clients ask us to design their exhibits. For example, in the late 90’s we designed five galleries covering Africa, East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania, Europe, The Americas, and The Ancient Mediterranean for The Spurlock Museum. Even earlier than that, a client like The Children’s Museum of Illinois would asked us what we could design and build within a very limited budget. It was more expensive for them to put a small exhibit like Our Body Our House out to more than one firm.Continue Reading